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Posted on Sep 19, 2013 in Andy blogs, Bow Ties, Bowties, Conversions, Neck Ties, sewing |

Springmaid and Scenes from ‘Bourbon and Bow Ties’


The only thing better than an evening in a bow tie?  An evening in a bow tie with a Bourbon in one hand.

The only thing better than an evening in a bow tie with a Bourbon? Why, an evening in a bow tie, with a Bourbon, enjoying blues, in a museum.

The only thing better than all of the above?

If you come wearing a necktie, and while you’re sipping your Bourbon and enjoying your blues, said necktie is being deconstructed and converted into a bow tie right before your eyes.

That’s what Ellie and Dominique did for our friends at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia a fortnight back. And it was gobs of fun.


There were, in fact, four other Carolina bow tie makers set up for the event as well. The fellow next to us lives in our old neighborhood and named his bow tie company Titanic Alley after the long-gone section of our neighborhood that capitulated to a sprawling Cadillac dealership. It turns out that he got his inspiration from The Cordial Churchman after buying his first of many bow ties from us at a Columbia craft faire 2 years back.


I think that he and I were both a little intimidated by the velocity and grace with which Dominique and Ellie reconfigured neckties into bow ties, even while sipping Bourbon. They’re good, those Belles.


The event coincided and overlapped with an exhibit that first debuted in Winthrop University Galleries, Between the Springmaid Sheets. The Cordial Churchman was privileged to be asked to produce dozens of bow ties from archival Springmaid fabrics for both exhibitions.


It was only a little bit awkward watching my illustrator friend and Cordial Churchman branding designer Stephen Crotts gaze in awe at the framed Springmaids in their impeccably illustrated, high-flying skirts. Technique, he said. I believe him.

I’ll leave you with the top 2 most gratifying experiences of the evening for most attendees:

1. Experiencing the bow tie that was a necktie just a few minutes before.


2. Experiencing the largest bow tie made of turkey feathers ever worn by a woman. (Note: this was not a former necktie.)


A big thanks to Ken May, Executive Director of the South Carolina Arts Commission, and Paul Matheny, South Carolina State Museum Curator of Art, for being the kind of gentlemen that bring Bourbon and bow ties together and call it art. And especially to Paul who had the Belles do some performance art in his space among such fine people.

– Andy

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Posted on Jul 16, 2013 in In the Studio, sewing |

Introduction to the Studio: Meet Carlee

Today we introduce CARLEE! She is a seamstress in the studio and known as one of the Cordial Church Belles. A graduate of Winthrop University, she has a degree in Illustration.

Why did you choose that degree? Carlee: I’ve been drawing since I was 3. My mother’s best friend, Lana, is a natural science illustrator. She encouraged my mom to sign me up for art lessons. The year before college Lana snuck me into an illustration conference and I loved the community. I switched to Illustration the first day of college.

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Posted on Mar 14, 2013 in Bowties, Conversions, Neck Ties, sewing |

Making Old Things New – Turning an old necktie into a bow tie.

One of the things people love us for is how we can turn a neck tie into a bow tie. And to be honest, it is a little magical.

Nearly every day, we receive packages with neck ties from all over the country. We rip them open and check out what is inside.

We take out the seams and press them out.

We add our own interfacing and sew them up.

conversion3And just like that.
conversion 5
Its Magic.


We get to make something new again – and we love it.

If you’re interested in purchasing this, you can do it through this link.

*the really good photos – #2 through #5 in this post were taken by our customer and friend and fellow artist, Joe Jackson.  Thank you, Joe for making it look so cool.

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Posted on Mar 13, 2013 in Bowties, Conversions, sewing, Society |

In the TCC Bow Tie Studio

We are so fortunate to have our work room on Main Street in downtown Rock Hill.  It is an old historic building with giant windows, tall ceilings and really good lighting.  In this place, we laugh, eat lots of candy, listen to loud music and obviously make plenty of bow ties.  Sometimes we are amazed at the beautiful things we get to see throughout the day.  One of our seamstresses (and abstract artist in her spare time), Dominique took these shots.


We have really good light.


Our “model” is named Bancroft. Here he is wearing a lapel flower and a channing bow tie. We have good times dressing this guy up.  It’s always nice to be able to point to him when a visitor picks up a diamond point freestyle bow tie and says what does this one do? 

If you’ve ever sewn, you know the glory that is the magnetic pin cushion – or pin collector I guess. It’s not very cushy.

Yes its true, even our trash piles are a work of art.

And the floor after a series of Neck tie to Bow Tie conversions.

And finally, a pile of freshly pressed four toned gingham bow ties that so far have only been available to our Bow Tie of the Month Society.

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Posted on Apr 8, 2011 in Andy blogs, Bowties, sewing, the Mothering of Art | 1 comment

Like Father, Like Son


Apparently everyone and their brother wants a bow tie this spring. It’s been a crazy April so far and we’re a mere 8 days in.

Actually, this week it seems like everyone and their SON wants a bow tie. We shipped out at least 5 or 6 father-and-son combos today. It’s been a while since one of my boys and I rocked the same bow tie to church or a wedding. After packing up all these apple-not-far-from-tree deals today, I’m thinking it’s time. All four of us guys in the same bow tie? Priceless. As they say somewhere, “you can hang THAT on the wall.”

Some of our hardcore dads insist on tie-it-yourself (“freestyle”) bow ties for their toddlers. Kudos. If that’s your thing, more power to you. If you’re lacking in dexterity or are perennially late like us, you’ll want to go with the majority report and get an already-tied, velcro-attaching one for the little guy. It’s got a nice elastic band, too, which allows it some ‘give’.

If you’re thinking of having us do your wedding bow ties, we always throw in a kiddie bow tie for the ring bearer gratis.


See all those bow ties there? We can make pretty much any of them in a kiddie bow tie, too. Why not have us make one for your kid with your next order?

Might I make one more selling point before I quit? If you’re a single dad, and don’t desire to be any longer, I challenge you to come up with a better way to woo a woman than going out to dinner with your little dude in a bow tie that matches yours. Next thing you know, we’ll be making wedding bow ties for your groomsmen. Mark my words.

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Posted on Oct 30, 2010 in Andy blogs, Scarves, sewing | 2 comments

The Cambridge Scarf

Here in the South, cooler weather can’t come too soon.  The heat makes otherwise standard things like denim, socks, and blazers almost intolerable until well into October.  As I type, however, the sun has set and it actually feels (now that High School football is almost over) like football season.  In Ohio it’s nothing to trick-or-treat in the snow.  In South Carolina, we’re just starting to pretend like we need long sleeves.

Before long, though, I’ll be riding my Vespa in the early morning, and this bad boy will keep me from turning into a well-dressed, vintage icicle.

We’ve featured the Oxford patchwork wool scarves a short while back, and they’ve been moving nicely over at the store.

Now, behold: the Cambridge Scarf. More subtle, somewhat more elegant, and at a lower price point than its patchwork cousin, the Cambridge scarf will be available in several styles.  Those you see featured here, plus a handful of other options, will be available on the store Friday, November 5.

It’s hard for me to name a favorite when you’ve got the two-sided, all-wool option (above), the frayed-fringed, one-piece red tartan plaid option (left), and the part wool/ part chambray option (below).

But why limit yourself to just one?  If you’re in some place like Buffalo, Billings or Bismark, you’re going to need every motivation in the world to brave the cold for the next 6 months.  The Cordial Churchman hereby offers a money-back guarantee that an arsenal of Cambridge scarves will help.


What else is there to say, really?  Bring on the cold.  Grab a tweed jacket, a pipe, and a Cambridge scarf.  You’ll easily be the baddest man in town.

I’m Andy Stager, and I approve of this message.

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